Box Office: ‘Moana’ Decimates Newcomers in Thanksgiving Weekend

(NOVEMBER 25 – NOVEMBER 27, 2016 estimates)

  1. Moana(Opening) – $55,523,000
  2. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (Week 2) – $45,100,000
  3. Doctor Strange(Week 4) – $13,369,000
  4. Allied(Opening) – $13,000,000
  5. Arrival(Week 3) – $11,250,000
  6. Trolls(Week 4) – $10,340,000
  7. “Almost Christmas” (Week 3) – $7,610,000
  8. “Bad Santa 2” (Opening) – $6,106,658
  9. Hacksaw Ridge(Week 4) – $5,450,000
  10. The Edge of Seventeen(Week 2) – $2,960,000


  • moana-1Disney is not ready to loosen its hold of the Thanksgiving weekend. The mouse house won the holiday weekend with its new animated film “Moana.” The musical’s box office sang the tune of $55 million over the three day weekend and $81 million over the five day weekend. This is the third biggest three day and second biggest five day opening weekend for the Thanksgiving period. Coincidentally, fellow Disney animated musical “Frozen” holds both those records. Still, this is a fantastic pull for “Moana.” It remains to be seen if the film will carry the same insane legs that brought “Frozen” to $400 million domestic. Nevertheless, Disney should count on at least a $200 million-plus domestic total, but most likely more.
  • The Harry Potter universe was no slouch either. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the first in a planned five film series, dropped 39 percent in its second weekend to take in $45 million over the three day period. While a significant drop, it is noticeably better than the Thanksgiving drop all previous Potter films that opened the week before Thanksgiving saw, sans “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” This shows that the new franchise may have some positive word of mouth working towards it. There is only more good news overseas for the initial chapter of the franchise. The film has grossed $473 million to date worldwide. While this doesn’t guarantee it will cross the billion dollar mark, it certainly shows the virility of the franchise.
  • Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” continues to pad its very successful total. The superhero flick witnessed a small 24 percent decline in its fourth weekend in theaters. That was just enough to pass newcomer “Allied.” This lifts the film’s domestic box office total to $205 million and worldwide total to $615 million. While this currently ranks as the tenth strongest performing title in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the film is still a success, especially considering it is the launch of a new character. Those film installments typically are not able to outperform “Avengers” or “Iron Man” sequels.
  • The old fashioned spy romance from Robert Zemeckis, “Allied,” failed to light up the Thanksgiving box office. With $13 million over three days and $18 million over five days, “Allied” finds itself slightly below expectations of a low $20 million five day debut. It does not help that the Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard starrer cost an estimated $85 million to make. This opening falls in line with other underperforming adult fare such as “Alexander” and “Australia.”
  • Arrival” used its word of mouth to really benefit on audiences catching up with film over the Thanksgiving weekend. The science fiction drama eased a minuscule 7 percent. This brings the film’s domestic total gross to a strong $62 million and worldwide gross to $93 million. This is a remarkable gross for a film that cost $47 million and concentrates more on linguistics than explosions. “Arrival” seems to be the sleeper hit of the last quarter of the year.
  • Despite family audiences turning out in droves for “Moana,” Dreamworks’ “Trolls seemed to suffer from the competition. The film dropped 40 percent in its fourth weekend, the steepest drop in the top 10. Still, this is far from bad news for the furry animated trolls. The film has grossed $135 million domestically and $291 million worldwide. This is days away from surpassing the $142 million domestic total for the first “Smurfs” movie. While that film’s $563 worldwide total is out of reach, the $347 million worldwide total of the sequel is much more attainable.
  • The only film in the top 10 to increase over the holiday weekend was “Almost Christmas.” The film surely benefited from families turning out in droves to see a festive film. It was able to see a 5 percent bump in business, bringing its domestic total box office to $36 million. If the film continues to perform throughout the holiday season, it may have a chance of surpassing the $49 million total of “This Christmas.”
  • Another late in life sequel failed to drum up box office. “Bad Santa 2” arrives 13 years after the original film. With so much time passing, the sequel’s opening was half of what the original saw on the same weekend in 2003. “Bad Santa 2” grossed $6 million over three days and $9 million over five days. While the first film used word of mouth to push it to $60 million domestic, this film will be lucky to crawl past $20 million domestic.
  • Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge” continued its successful run in theaters. The film dropped a mere 18 percent for another weekend of stellar legs. To date, the film has risen to $52 million domestic, surpassing Gibson’s previous film “Apocalypto.” It will be tough for the film to match “Braveheart’s” $75 million gross. However, if the film catches awards buzz once precursors are announced it may have a shot.
  • Bringing up the rear is the well reviewed teen comedy “The Edge of Seventeen.” After a disappointing opening, the film wasn’t able to substantially hold its ground in its second weekend. The film lost 37 percent of its business. Its domestic box office total remains at $10 million. While that is a low sum, the film only cost $9 million to make, mitigating any failure.


  • loving3_1-large_transzgekzx3m936n5bqk4va8ruoeazfgpk2eqjdu0_u3rfmIn terms of expansion, the marital rights drama “Loving nearly cracked the top 10. The film grew to 421 theaters and was able to gross $1.6 million over the three day weekend. This was good enough for number eleven on the charts. The domestic total for the film stands at $4 million. Depending on how well the film does with precursors over the next couple weeks, it could dictate how high the limited release film climbs, in terms of box office.
  • While many newcomers underperformed this weekend, no bomb was quite like “Rules Don’t Apply.” The long-gestating return for Warren Beatty might make him long for the days of infamous bomb “Town and Country.” The film opened in 2,382 theaters, but was only able to muster a three day opening of $1.5 million and five day opening of $2.1 million. This is good enough to be the worst wide opening of the year and sixth worst wide opening of all time. The per-theater average comes out to a pitiful $661. To put that in perspective, each showing housed an average of four people.
  • Kenneth Lonergan’s awards drama “Manchester by the Sea” saw terrific growth in its second weekend. The film went from four to 48 theaters and saw a 387 percent uptick in grosses. This was good enough for $1.2 million over three days and a per-theater average of $26,048. The awards frontrunner should be able to turn solid grosses over the next couple weeks as it expands to more markets.
  • The best per-theater average of the weekend went to the Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman weepie “Lion.” The inspirational true story started its limited release run in four theaters, grossing $128,000. The per-theater average for the film stands at $32,092. It will be interesting to see how the emotional film resonates with larger audiences as it expands over the coming weeks.
  • Finally, Jessica Chastain’s latest, “Miss Sloane,” also took the limited release route this week. The political drama opened to $63,000 in three theaters for a per-theater average of $21,000. The film will need some more awards buzz or persuasive word of mouth in order to not get lost in the sea of expanding Oscar bait films.

Did you take your family to the movies this Thanksgiving holiday? Let us know what you saw in the comments.